Every community needs a Mama

Since we are at the Ides of March in a month to celebrate women’s history, let me offer a brief glimpse of a woman who almost everyone in a small community in southwest Georgia called “Mama.” Not that they were related, but Mama was a health care giver for the community, a self-appointed nurse who helped many while the regional doctor was away.

When the doctor was in the area for his monthly visits, Mama would accompany him on his visits to hear and see what he had to say, but also to share her thoughts. She had such a good rapport with the doctor, she named one of her twelve children after him. In the interim, Mama would make sure the patients took their medicines, rested and did what the doctor asked. Since this was in the 19th century, many of the cures were home or natural remedies.

I have shared the story before about how her youngest boy loved gymnastic type exercise and would tumble or use any prop for his swings and dismounts. One day, he fell and knocked his two front teeth out of his mouth. He gathered them up and ran in with his bloody mouth. Mama sat him down and boiled some water while she cleaned his mouth. She then dipped the end of a dish towel in the hot water and rinsed it quickly. She told the boy to put the towel in his mouth “as hot as he could stand it.” She cleaned the teeth off and then shoved them back into his now-swelling gums and they held.

I love this example and have heard and told this story many times. Her name was Carrie Jane and she was my great grandmother. Since everyone called her Mama, my grandmother’s children included, they would call their own mom “Mother” in deference to Carrie Jane. I never got the chance to meet Mama, but I do know her children grew up as both characters and with character, my grandmother included.

As an example, she called one of her daughters Carrie Bell, but my grandmother would not call her sister that. Instead, she would call her “Cow Bell” as a means of teasing. And, when Carrie Bell would come to visit, she would ask us kids if we wanted to play “marbles” which was her name for the board game Aggravation.

Growing up in a rural area (using town would be inappropriate), people formed a kinship and helped each other out. These folks could not pay Mama for her services, but would bring the family fresh produce as a means of recompense. If a baby was coming, everyone would go find Mama. I think there are mamas like this in every small community.

These are the kind of women I wish to honor today. People may not have been related to them, but they touched many lives. Thanks Mama and all of the mamas in our history. Tell me about the mamas in your history.

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That COVID thing bit us, but we are all OK

The end of 2021 and beginning of 2022 has been made interesting by our little COVID friend. I mentioned how my oldest son was exposed to a person with COVID two days before Christmas, who frustratingly told him they (I am not certain of the gender) had it after handing him a cup of coffee. While he initially tested negative, he later tested positive. As he was feeling fine between the two results, against my better judgment, he joined us for Christmas Eve dinner and present opening while my daughter was here.

On Christmas day, he let us know he was starting to feel poorly, so he stayed home. While he had his first two vaccines as have other members of my family, he had not had the booster yet. My sister, who lives close by, and I had the booster as well. She joined us for Christmas day and was here when we found out he was getting sick.

My wife, other son and sister tested negative and are feeling fine. My daughter and I tested positive. The good news is all three of us are feeling better and COVID is hopefully in our rearview mirror, although I am still quarantining to avoid infecting others in and out of the house. The vaccines and booster helped us stave off the worst effects, plus we did read the Omicron variant is less severe, even though it is more easily spread.

The symptoms varied a little for the three of us. My throat was sore and I did have a little chest congestion, but mostly because of head congestion draining. I took Acetaminophen and Mucinex (I did speak with a nurse) and drank lots of water and rested. Even though I was little more tired, I was able to continue light exercise which helped with being stir crazy. I started feeling better about two days after being tested positive and a week after exposure. Now, I am taking the occasional Acetaminophen, but stopped the Mucinex after two days as I hate the way it makes me feel. (note some Mucinex has Acetaminophen in it, so don’t overdose).

My son was feverish, had some chest congestion and a sore throat. He did take some Mucinex, but focused on the Acetaminophen. My daughter was feverish, had head congestion, and sore throat as well. She did the same treatment. And, they both are on the upside of the equation now and are feeling fine.

My other son who tested negative postponed his booster for about a week so as not to infect others, just in case. He and my wife avoided any of the symptoms and felt fine throughout. He got the booster last night. My wife is getting her booster on Friday.

I again encourage folks to get vaccinated and/ or get the booster when and if due. I saw an ER doctor in an interview who said we are only seeing patients come in with COVID who were not vaccinated. That is telling. And, I shared earlier my frustration with an acquaintance of my oldest son’s who went into work sick and only told him after an interaction. We must take care of ourselves and each other to keep this thing from taking more than 800,000 Americans and 5.4 million people around the world it has.

Best wishes to all for the New Year and be safe.

Travel safely, be well, respect flight attendants

Here in the US, my favorite holiday is upon us, Thanksgiving. I encourage everyone to travel safely, use meditation and patience to remain calm and be well. A little more walking or aerobic activity to counter vent the calorie intake would be wise.

Also, try not to accost the flight attendants. When wound up passengers do that, they are like the monkey climbing a tree – at some point they bare their hind end. I did see where airline attendants are learning self-defense techniques to ward of those wound up few

For some reason, these wound up few believe being made to follow the rules to protect everyone is a personal affront to their liberties. Just like any set of rules, you know them beforehand. If you don’t like it when on the plane or after a few drinks, then you missed your chance to vote with your feet. Once on the plane, the best advice is to sit down and shut up.

I mention this as I learned yesterday that seven anti-vaxxer doctors have now come down with COVID after attending a conference together. This follows on three months of five anti-vaxxer radio hosts, unfortunately getting and dying from COVID. One of the now sick doctors was mad at his father, who at the age of 99 had gotten both doses of the vaccine. I do not wish COVID on anyone, but I am not surprised when unvaccinated people come down with it.

As for me, I am scheduled to get the booster after Thanksgiving. My sister got the booster two weeks ago and had zero complications. With her job and other health issues, being fully vaccinated is key. My wife will, be getting hers after me.

I am aware of over fifty people who have had the vaccines, with only a few sore arms, some fever or body aches just afterward. What I find sad and amusing is some folks would rather take an animal de-wormer which is not meant for humans than a vaccine that has been tested and has data to support its overall efficacy. No drug is perfect without some side effects for a small few (just read the warning labels), but a de-wormer? Really?

So, count me in the vaccine camp, the human one. That is what I am going to do, as it protects me and others. Unfortunately, we are not out of the woods yet, as the numbers are expected to uptick again. Getting things closer to fine takes some effort, a community effort.

That is what communities do. They help each other out. Some guy named Jesus said that. Also, Gandhi talked of a community’s greatness being measured how they take care of the less fortunate. Neither person mentioned beating up flight attendants.

So, travel calmly and safely. And, be well.